A dad who took his life during the first lockdown was a "hidden victim" of the coronavirus pandemic, according to his brother.

Nick Gunnell, 55, tragically drowned in a river after leaving a note for his family.

The heartbreaking note was apologetic and expressed regret, it read "Covid got me".

A coroner ruled a verdict of suicide at an inquest into Mr Gunnell's death.

His brother Jez said: "He is greatly missed by us all and we are all aware that Nick is a hidden victim of Covid-19 - one of many that have lost their precious lives or are suffering as a result of this devastating disease, that are not on any Government statistics.

Mr Gunnell's body was found in the River Ouse

"Nick was clearly very disturbed by the onset of Covid.

"Apart from the oppressive media blitz, being under lockdown and deprived of his social life, Covid caused Nick enormous problems for the business that he had developed for 30 years."

An inquest heard that lockdown had caused Mr Gunnell's financial advice business problems and he had been suffering from anxiety and sleeping problems.

He was last seen on CCTV walking down to the riverside in York city centre shortly after 1pm on June 30.

After a six-day police and public search, a kayaker found his body in the River Ouse 150 metres upstream from the bridge.

The inquest heard that before coronavirus, Mr Gunnell had told his wife that 2020 was going to be "their year".

His body was found after a six-day search

He was preparing to sell his financial advice business and they were planning a tour of the Greek islands.

But coronavirus travel restrictions meant the holiday was scrapped, the lockdown hit his business and the deal fell through, the inquest heard.

Mr Gunnell had drunk alcohol and taken medicine before he died and CCTV at York Station showed that he was slightly unsteady on his feet, the court was told.

He had talked with his doctor the day before his death and been prescribed medicine for anxiety and sleeping problems.

The doctor's notes said he did not sound suicidal, the inquest heard.

A post mortem concluded that he had drowned and assistant coroner John Broadbridge recorded a finding of suicide.

Jez added: "Nick lived life to the full and was an amazing husband, father, stepfather, brother, uncle and a great friend to many.

"However, despite the evidence that he planned to take his own life, we will never be sure he did not end up falling into the river in his condition rather than actually ending his life on purpose."

For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.